WEEK 45, Day 1, Monday, 5 November 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 5 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 7:4 – “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” God’s goal for both justice and grace is to reveal Himself and glorify Himself – it’s not primarily about us.

2. Ezekiel 7:9 – “And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes.” To know God as a judge without pity is to know Him too late.

3. Ezekiel 7:12-13 – “The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude. For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, while they live. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not turn back; and because of his iniquity, none can maintain his life.” God has a day when all commercial transactions cease.

4. Ezekiel 7:19 – “They cast their silver into the streets, and their gold is like an unclean thing. Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity.” On the day of God’s judgment, money is worthless – you can’t eat money.

5. Ezekiel 7:20 – “His beautiful ornament they used for pride, and they made their abominable images and their detestable things of it. Therefore, I make it an unclean thing to them.” Substitutes for God appear only when people create them. Mankind brought sin, rebellion, and disorder into the world and created the corrupt systems that lead to wars and strife. Only when mankind sought to create kingdoms for themselves rather than serve the KING in His creation did mankind suffer.

6. Ezekiel 7:23 — “Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence.” When God judges a nation, its government no longer maintains order and security to protect its people.

7. Ezekiel 7:24 – “I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses.” When God judges a nation, property rights go out the window.

8. Ezekiel 7:26 – “They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders.”

– A lawless and ungodly nation cannot hear from God.

– A nation that faces judgment has religious leaders that cannot truly understand God’s word or will though they make a living claiming that they do.

9. Ezekiel 7:27 – “The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” God’s ultimate goal in judgment is that people would know that He is God, and that He is KING.

10. Ezekiel 8:6 – “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.’” Sin separates people from God though they may continue to perform religious activities and do “good works.” They have the form of religion, but it is powerless.

11. Ezekiel 8 – In a godless nation, there is still religion and religious leaders who claim to be worshipping God. The godless nation still claims godliness, and the vast majority practice the accepted false religion of the day.

12. Ezekiel 8:12 – “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” God’s people cherished things more than God and blamed God for being distant and unresponsive. God is not here to give you what you want. We cannot barter with God by performing deeds just so He will bless us. We must worship and serve God because that is what we were created to do. We are here for Him, not the other way around. When we are in a loving, obedient relationship with God, blessings come naturally, but blessings can never be the motivation for our worship – this is self-centered worship and is not love, not really worship.

13. Ezekiel 8:18 – “Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” God is deaf to the cries for help of the people who have departed from Him. These cries are all self-serving. God cannot reward the unfaithful.

14. Proverbs 5:21 – “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.” Sin starts in the heart, and God knows your heart fully. Consider carefully your thought life. Before you committed any outward sin, whether seen or unseen, you first desired to do it, and that desire was already a sin, breaking the Greatest Commandment of loving God completely. As Jesus pointed out, sin starts in the heart. You may not have murdered anyone, but if, in your heart, you desired to, you are guilty of an even greater sin than murder, and that sin is failing to love the Almighty and other people as you should and as He commands. Putting your desires, even for a moment, above Him is cosmic treason against the One and Only Sovereign Lord. Don’t just repent of the sins you commit in secret, repent of your thoughts that dishonor God. Pray for a pure heart, and give thanks for God’s grace.

15. Proverbs 5:22, 23 – “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Obedience is a discipline – hence, the word disciple. Sinners lack self-control and self-discipline. They are not willing to make the small daily sacrifices each day required to invest in their spiritual growth and in their relationship with Jesus. They are defeated each day by their desires, emotions, and passions. Rather than being controlled by the Spirit, they are controlled by idols, created things that have become more influential in their lives than the Creator. What will control you today? What will be the source of your motivation? For what will you endeavor and why?

16. John 4:6 – “Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.” Jesus knew what it was to be tired, hungry, and thirsty. Although when he felt these strong human desires, He did not sin by becoming self-centered, irritable, or blind to the needs of others. He stayed on mission and continued to serve God and draw others towards God.

17. John 4:7 – “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’” Jesus asked for service not to take care of Himself but to create a relationship that would be used to serve others. Samaritans were despised by Jews, but Jesus knew no prejudice.

18. John 4:10 – “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’” Jesus identified Himself as “the Gift of God” who when served blesses far than one could imagine.

19. John 4:13, 14 – “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” Jesus satisfies the root of all needs by bringing people to the source of Life. Jesus said, “I am the… Life.” If you have Jesus, you are satisfied beyond measure. If you feel dissatisfaction, it is a relationship and perspective problem.

20. John 4:18 – “For you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.” To reunite people with God, Jesus had to reveal to people the sins that separated them from God. He had to call them to repentance. God forgives sin, but He must be honored in obedience and faithfulness.

21. John 4:23, 24 — “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

– True worship is empowered by the Spirit and revealed in tangible examples of obedience and selfless love. God made us human to worship Him in the physical realm. We translate spiritual truth into physical, tangible reality on earth. We don’t just love the Lord with all our “heart and with all our soul;” we also love Him with all our physical “might” or strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5) We are not called to simply “fear the Lord” conceptually, but also to “walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13) A true worshipper of God does His will, and God listens to Him. (John 9:31) True worshippers present themselves to God as living sacrifices, “holy and acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1) What you do reveals what you truly believe and care about. God is seeking those whose worship is true.

– Most people worship “what [they] do not know.” True worshippers “know” God, not just about God, and worship in truth by doing what He commands.

22. John 4:26 – “Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” Some false teachers claim that Jesus never said He was the Messiah. Let this verse and the one preceding it settle the matter.

23. John 4:34 – “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.’”

– Jesus was not controlled by human desires and passions but rather by His love for the Father. His motivation behind all of His words and deeds was to selflessly serve the Father. When He got uncomfortable, His words and deeds didn’t change. He was just as loving under any condition. How about you? What motivates you to do what you do? What does it take to change your attitude?

– “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” This should also be our “daily bread.”

24. John 4:39 – “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” The woman’s natural response to her life changing experience with Jesus was to tell others. If you have a hard time telling others about Jesus, you might want to question what sort of relationship you really have with Him. She didn’t just know ‘about’ Jesus; she knew and experienced Jesus personally. Do you have knowledge about Jesus or knowledge of Jesus? Have you been practicing religion rather than walking in relationship? Bible knowledge informs, but Jesus transforms. A genuine encounter with Jesus changes everything.

25. John 4:42 – “They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” A testimony must come from first-hand knowledge, not second-hand knowledge. Witnesses can only testify to what they have seen and heard personally, anything else is hearsay. If your testimony is weak, it can only be because your experience with Jesus is limited. Pray that God will reveal Himself to you more and more each day, but don’t pray pridefully. You must approach God humbly.

26. John 4:42 — “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” Someone else may have led you to Christ and may have discipled you from God’s word, but maturity demands that you hear from God yourself through His word empowered by the Holy Spirit.

27. John 4:48 — “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

– God’s judgement will come as a thief in the night because it will not be preceded by signs and wonders so that those who do not seek God and have faith will not be aware. God’s word has been provided already and is very clearly understood. What people do with God’s words without signs and wonders reveals the condition of their hearts.

– Sin causes people to ask God to prove Himself to them.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Nov 18: Today, share your personal testimony with those you know. If this is hard for you, search your heart to understand why. Are you more concerned about how others might view you than you are excited about sharing Jesus with anyone who might listen because you cannot contain your love for Him? (John 4:39-42)

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